NFL

NFL AM: Gary Kubiak Never Considered Osweiler On Sunday

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Gary Kubiak says he didn’t consider replacing Manning against Pittsburgh:

The Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday to move onto the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, but they were anything but an offensive juggernaut in the 23-16 victory.

After the game head Coach Gary Kubiak was asked if he had considered making the switch to Brock Osweiler, who started eight games for the Broncos this season, but he was quick to point out that Manning’s numbers would have looked a lot better if not for all of the drops.

“No. We were struggling because we didn’t catch the ball,” Kubiak said. “We would have had a really big first half. I think we had five or six drops. We still had 160 yards of ball movement, but there was 100 yards of plays out there that we left. We were fine. We just needed to keep plugging away. We talked about that at halftime. Even though we struggled a little bit in the third quarter, I think some of the plays we made toward the end — especially the job that (Manning) did with us running the ball on that last drive (that) was tremendous. I felt good about our football team throughout the course of the game. I just think it was a tough, tough football game. We needed to hang in there and keep battling.”

While his quarterback’s numbers weren’t pretty, the Broncos’ head coach believes he was healthy and performed well overall.

“I can’t speak for him, but I think he’s fine,” Kubiak said. “I think he came out fine. He played under center, he played in the gun and moved around. I think we had one sack in the game. That was important, we protected him pretty well. I think he came out okay.”

Coming out “okay” won’t be enough against the Patriots on Sunday. We know that Bill Belichick is going to throw everything at Denver and their veteran quarterback. Make no mistake about it, the Broncos’ offense is going to have to be more effective than it was against Pittsburgh on Sunday if they hope to reach their second Super Bowl during Manning’s run with the team.

It looks as if Kubiak has made the decision that Manning is Denver’s best chance to reach Super Bowl 50, and even if the offense is sputtering, he won’t go to Osweiler barring an injury to Manning or something so far off the page that he just can’t justify leaving the veteran signal caller in the game any longer.

This is likely Peyton’s last chance at Super Bowl glory, as his diminishing physical skills would make it quite a surprise if he returns next season. Remember if things go poorly Sunday to take a second to appreciate the fact that you might be watching the final snaps of one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. If this is the end, it would almost be fitting for Manning’s final season to end at either the Super Bowl or by once again falling to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Mike McCarthy wants Eddie Lacy in better shape for 2016:

Whether it’s Week 17, when your team is eliminated for the playoffs, or even after you lift the Lombardi Trophy, every team takes some time to sit back and look at where they are, and where they need to be in the upcoming season.

While there are many reasons for the Green Bay Packers eventual demise in the playoffs, and third-year running back Eddie Lacy isn’t atop that list, head Coach Mike McCarthy made it clear on Monday that Lacy’s weight was unacceptable.

Lacy was the victim of fat memes all over the internet this season, but this is the first time McCarthy has commented on the back’s shape. The writing may have been on the wall when the Packers’ head coach started James Starks over the third-year back during a key stretch of Green Bay’s season.

While McCarthy never addressed Lacy’s weight during the season, he took the time to send his back a message on Monday.

“He’s got a lot of work to do,” Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday. “His offseason last year was not good enough and he never recovered from it. He cannot play at the weight he played at this year.”

While size and power are part of what make Lacy successful, he has to rededicate himself before next season, because in a league where running backs are considered a dime a dozen and rarely have long careers, being known as a guy who won’t do the work to stay in shape will not keep you in an NFL backfield for very long.

Tennessee Titans open to trading first pick in the draft:

New Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson spoke with the media Monday, and he says the team is open to trading the first-overall pick in this year’s upcoming draft.

While he didn’t insist the team wants to move down, he made it clear he’s be answering the phone if teams looking to move up the draft board came calling.

According to Robinson, the Titans “will look at any and all offers that come this way” for the No. 1 overall pick.”

Trading down and acquiring extra picks makes all the sense in the world for a team with a ton of holes, in a draft without a consensus No.1 pick.

A year ago there was almost no question that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Titans would remain at No.1 and No.2 in the draft, and it was almost as certain that it would be Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota being selected in those spots. There was some talk that each of the teams would entertain trade offers, but nobody really believed either quarterback starved franchise would pass up on Winston or Mariota.

The question becomes whether or not there’s a prospect in this draft that teams would be willing to move up for. Trading into the No.1 pick will almost certainly involve at least an additional future first-rounder.

Is Laremy Tunsil or Joey Bosa enough of a can’t miss prospect that a team would be willing to spend the kind of assets it would require to move up to the No.1 spot to take them? Unless Tennessee would be a little open minded and take less than the typical haul demanded in that kind of trade, the answer is likely no. It’s usually quarterback desperate teams that make those kind of trades, and there just isn’t a Winston or Mariota in this draft.

If a team does fall in love with one of these prospects this season and decides they want to trade up to the top spot, it sounds like Jon Robinson will be open to helping them make that happen, but barring something pretty surprising, you should expect Tennessee to be the first team to make a selection this April. Considering they’ve drafted their quarterback in Mariota and have first-rounder Taylor Lewan at left tackle, don’t be surprised if Bosa is the guy holding up a Titans jersey when we kick off the 2016 NFL Draft.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.